UConn Uses Big 6th To Slip Past Baseball, 5-4
April 23, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The UMass baseball team led after scoring a run in each of the first three innings, but Connecticut plated four in the sixth to defeat the Minutemen, 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. Following the setback, UMass is now 9-22 on the season, while the Huskies improve to 24-16 overall.
The Minutemen started off the contest by scoring a run in the top of the first. Redshirt junior Ryan Cusick opened up the inning with a walk, was sacrificed over to second, moved to third on a ground ball and came home on a single that redshirt sophomore Adam Picard dropped just inside the right field line.
UMass then expanded its lead to 2-0 with a run in the second. Freshman Vinny Scifo drew a two-out walk, moved to third on an error and scored on a balk.
In the bottom half of the inning, UConn took one of the runs back, though. Max McDowell was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Tom Verdi.
The Minutemen then pushed the advantage back to two, scoring a run for a third straight inning. Junior Rob McLam roped a leadoff double into the left field corner, advanced to third on a single to right by Picard and junior Nik Campero plated him with a sacrifice fly.
However, several UMass defensive miscues in the bottom of the sixth helped the Huskies pull in front, 5-3. A one-out single by Jon Testani, followed by Verdi reaching on a hit by pitch and a walk to Billy Ferriter loaded the bases for LJ Mazzilli. Mazzilli dropped a single into left, while an error by Kellen Pagel allowed the bases to clear and Mazzilli to reach third. Mazzilli then came home on another error for UConn's fifth run.
The Minutemen pulled back to within one and threatened for more in the top of the eighth. Campero drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by pinch runner Paul Yanakopulos. The next batter, pinch hitter Nick Sanford, moved the pair over into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Cusick followed with an infield single to plate Yanakopulos and bring UMass to within one. Senior Rich Graef then drew a walk to load the bases. UConn closer Jordan Tabakman quelled the rally, though, getting McLam to strike out swinging to end the threat and went on to pitch 1.1 scoreless and earn the save (5) with one walk and two strikeouts.
Junior Aaron Plunkett took the loss (0-2) for the Minutemen in relief. He allowed two unearned runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts over 2.2 innings. Stephen Catalina collected the win (1-0) after he worked three innings and surrendered one run on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Cusick had four of UMass nine hits on the day as he reached base in all five trips to the plate and went 4-for-4 on the day with an RBI and a run scored. Picard finished 3-for-5 with an RBI. Mazzilli (3-for-5) and Vinny Siena (2-for-5) combined for five of the seven hits in the contest for the Huskies.
UMass will be back in action this Friday, Apr. 26, when the squad will return to Earl Lorden Field to open up a three-game Atlantic 10 series against Saint Joseph's at 3 p.m.